In a surprise move, Disney Vacation Club announced on April 17, 2023, that they would have a Members-only event on May 4th, 2023. Star Wars Day, you say?! Surely the event would be Star Wars themed. But no, sadly, Disney decided instead to give us a Guardians of the Galaxy event for the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. There were two options, a Screen & Scream package which includes a private movie screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 at AMD Disney Springs and an after-hours party in World Discovery at EPCOT and a Scream Package which includes the same after-hours party and a $15 voucher to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 at a later date. The price for either package was $89 plus tax and gratuity per person, which actually worked out to $105.31. To register for the event, DVC Membership Extras were required.
Pros and Cons
Compared to Moonlight Magic, this event is worse in almost every single way. First, the event is not free; it was $105.31 per person. Second, only a very small portion of EPCOT was open, World Discovery with only two rides available, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Test Track. Many people who attended the event were unaware that only this section of the park would be opened and expected to be able to ride more than just Cosmic Rewind and Test Track. This is more akin to a private corporate event instead of an After Hours event.
Event organization also seemed to be a point of confusion. Those that purchased the “Screen and Scream” event received their wristbands at the movie theater earlier in the day. People who already had wristbands were told different things; some of them were told they could stay inside the park and wait for the event to start at 10 pm, while others were told they needed to exit the park and wait in line to enter the park at 10 pm. Because we had the Screen package, we were held at the entrance area of EPCOT and were not allowed to walk to the event area until 10 pm. We were one of the first in line to walk there but imagine our surprise when there were a significant number of people already in the event space and waiting in line for Cosmic Rewind when we arrived. There appeared to be inconsistency in what people were told regarding whether they could stay in the area or not.
Ultimately I don’t think it really made a big difference, as the biggest positive is the number of people at the event. I’m not sure if the event sold out – but there were not that many people there. I would estimate 2,500 people or so showed up. The food that was offered was also pretty good, better than snack vouchers, and there were no lines to get food. I forgot to take pictures of the food, but there were chicken skewers, pretzel nuggets, and desserts. There was a cash bar, which I did not utilize at all, and water and lemonade were offered.
The line for Cosmic Rewind was a 15-20 minute wait at first, but within an hour or so, the ride was a walk on. Test Track was a walk basically a walk on the entire night (you didn’t even stop to build a car!) This is one huge plus, in my opinion, compared to Moonlight Magic. While lines are certainly shorter during Moonlight Magic, I wouldn’t say they are non-existent. Despite there only being two rides open, the lines for both rides were incredibly short. I was able to ride Cosmic Rewind six times and Test Track once and could have easily rode Cosmic Rewind more if I didn’t wait in line to meet characters.
Long Lines to Meet Characters
There was one character meet & greet which featured Star-Lord and Gamora. This was the highlight of the event since normally you don’t get to see these characters in Disney World, but because of that, the line was horrendously long. The characters also needed to take multiple breaks; they came out around 10:15 pm and were only outside for about 15-20 minutes. We were told to expect to have to wait until 11:15 pm to see the characters. The characters went inside for a 30-minute break. I understand that the characters need a break, but it would have been nice if they had a 2nd set of characters that could come out and keep the line moving. The line was so long that by 11:15 pm, the line was closed, and people towards the end of the line were told they would definitely get a chance to see the characters, but it might take until 1 am. Imagine spending the entire event in line to meet Star-Lord and Gamora for 30 seconds. Thankfully the characters stayed out for a full 30 minutes, and we finally got our pictures with them around 11:40 pm, shortly before they went in for their 2nd 30-minute break.
There was quite a bit of entertainment available during the event; acrobats and other entertainers put on shows throughout World Discovery. The acrobats and entertainers proved not to be very popular, and if you decided to watch their performances, you got a private showing. A DJ on a bicycle riding around keeping folks waiting in line entertained, and DJs with a “dance party” in 2 areas of the park kept the must flowing throughout the night. In both areas, almost nobody was dancing though! 🙂
There was also one PhotoPass picture available at Mission Space. Not really all that exciting, but there wasn’t a line for it at all!
One thing I did not like about this event is the International Gateway was closed. This meant that even though we were staying at Beach Club Villas, we could not walk back to our room. We had to take a bus from the front of EPCOT back to Beach Club. This is really just a nitpick, and I understand why they closed the International Gateway, but it was important to know this. Thankfully Disney sent multiple emails to make sure everyone knew it would be closed.
The only transportation offered was buses, but I have to say this was surprisingly a good experience. There were multiple buses waiting when we left the park shortly after the event ended at 1 am. Because so few people were at the event and even fewer were left when the event ended at 1 am, we were directed to hop on a bus for Riviera, and the bus driver said he was going to Riviera, Boardwalk, Beach, and Yacht Club. He even dropped off a couple at the Swan Hotel, which Disney buses normally do not go to (In October 2020, Swan and Dolphin stopped using Disney buses and now have their own buses to transport you to the parks).
The Future of DVC Events?
While I don’t think Moonlight Magic events are going away, I do think DVC is looking for a way to show the value of direct point purchases and DVC Membership Extras. I can see this being a potential for events in the future. With extended evening hours at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT already, it would be fantastic to see a reduced-price event for DVC members at Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom. However, for the price – you have to consider if a hard ticket After Hours event would be a better value vs. one of these DVC events. Disney World is currently offering After Hours events at both Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, and usually most rides are open.
Would you be willing to pay $85-100 for access to a private DVC event like this? Let me know in the comments below!